We Walk by Faith

I heard this song today and wept. Sometimes a song can touch us like nothing else.

We Walk by Faith

We walk by faith and not by sight
through the day and through the night.
Every word of God is right.
We walk by faith and not by sight.

We walk by faith and not by sight
through the day and through the night.
Every word of God is right.
We walk by faith and not by sight.

As we walk the road of life, sometimes the way is hard.
When strong winds blow and threaten us, we must trust the Lord

We walk by faith and not by sight
through the day and through the night.

Take courage if you are hurting today. Life is sometimes difficult. In times like these it is important to know that we walk by faith and not by sight.


Since my wife Ann has been back at church these past few months I have noticed a trend that this cartoon seems to capture so well. People feel an overwhelming need to pray for someone in a wheelchair.. sometimes it can be a bit annoying.. and a bit condescending.

Unlike the cartoon, however, I don't think that people have this reaction because they are looking down at my wife.. I just think that they are uncomfortable and don't know what else to do at times.. they are well meaning (I really mean that!) but would do better to engage Ann in conversation rather than pray for her.

I also think that, in general, people are very outwardly focused in nature. This is one of the reasons that health and wealth preachers are so very successful.. they make the gospel all about externals.. they train people to look healthy on the outside even though they are inwardly sick.

Wholeness is all about being well on the inside even though our flesh is broken.. and we all have broken flesh. Wholeness is best reflected in the passage from 2Corinthians 4:
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (7-10)

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (16)
Sometimes it takes external pain, disability and brokeness to bring us to a place of wholeness. I know that physical and emotional pain have led me in paths where I have been confronted with Proverbs 3:5-6.. confronted with the idea that trust is all about inner wholeness.. and leaning on my own understanding has been an obstacle in that path of wholeness.


Brant Hansen tells a story about a man In the Cubicle Next Door.
Here is an excerpt:
A few years later, he went back to India. Kumar took his vacation from Sun, and headed over with no plan. He just went door-to-door, and told people about Jesus.

The first day, 45 people decided to become Jesus-followers. How'd THAT happen?

"I don't know. I just went door to door, and neighbors would introduce me to others, and I was amazed."


Kumar still takes his vacations, two weeks a year, and heads to India. But things have grown. From those first 45, and from his trips over the past seven years...

More than 100,000 conversions. 139 communities. More than 100 pastors. Model orphanages for children suffering from AIDS Schools for Dalit children, the lowest-of-the-low in India. Shelters for little girls, now rescued from prostitution. Food. Medicine. Jesus.
You simply must read this amazing and heartbreaking story. It will blow you away! Hattip to crownring for the link to Kumar's story!

Facing Down Fear

When my son volunteered to go back for a second tour of frontline battle in Iraq he requested that I not pray against him going.. it was hard for me not to pray that way. Over the next few months as he prepared to go back God did something in my heart.. he turned worry inside out in me.. I don't think that I ever worried after he touched my heart and gave me a peace knowing that Matt was right where he needed to be. Matt has been home for a month now (he gets out of the Army in April after four and a half years of service) and I recognize how much he has changed. He needed that second tour of battlefield duty to recover from his first tour. I think that God is amazing in the way that he uses a wounded man's courage to heal him when he returns to the battlefield and faces down his fear.

This speaks to me this morning about facing down my own fears. Using my son's experience I think that these are the factors in facing down fear:
  • Faith: The first step is to trust God as you choose to return to the battle. I remember my grief counselor saying that you need to step into your pain. The fear of pain is so real and it is so hard to take that first step of faith in overcoming that fear.
  • Endurance: The second part is to (excuse the verbiage) stay the course. Courage is often something that must arise in us every day. I hate this! I would rather face down fear once and then move on. It is just not the way it works. To overcome we often have to face down our fears every day.
  • Strength: There is a praise song that begins by saying "strength will come as we wait upon the Lord". With each day we can grow a bit stronger.. as we face down our fear it ceases to define us and control us. We grow stronger in grace and weaker in fear.
  • Victory: I really don't like this word but there does seem to be a time when we experience fear less and less until we realize that we aren't afraid. Sometimes this is an event but often it is a process.. sometimes we can face fear down in a day and sometimes it take much longer.

I stuttered as a child and it lasted into my early twenties. I was deathly afraid of public speaking. Oral book reports in high school mortified me.. I did everything I could to keep from speaking in front of a group. Then when I was 26 Christ came into my life. A year later.. in September 1977 in a crowd of about 700 people at a Charismatic church I spoke out an extemporaneous word of prophecy from the congregation. Over the next few months I did this on several occasions. Then one day I realized something.. I no longer stuttered! Since that time I went to Bible College and now speak publicly on a regular basis. Through the exercise of a spiritual gift God amazingly healed my stuttering as I faced down my fear of public speaking.

Not sure how to end this. I confess that I am still facing down fears that deal with Ann's health and our future.. to that end I solicit your prayers. Having said that I offer an invitation to you. Email me or post a comment here.. make it the first step in facing down your fear.. and you will have my support and the support of others who read this.. and may God grant each of the courage we need.

Purpose and Pleasure

Every time I look at this picture from Chariots of Fire I am reminded of this line from the movie:
I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.
I think that passion can be defined using two words from this line: purpose and pleasure. When Eric Liddel, missionary to China, ran in the 1924 Olympics he ran as a man filled with passion.. passion for God.. if you remember the movie.. he would not run in a Sunday race because of his conviction about the Sabbath. He also seemed to have a passion for life.. it seemed that whatever he did with all he had. It reminds me of this passage of scripture:
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Here is a passage from another scene in the movie where Eric is addressing a crowd that watched him race:
You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape - especially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe you're dinner's burnt. Maybe you haven't got a job.

So who am I to say, "Believe, have faith," in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, "Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me." If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.
I find that those I know who seem to have real passion for the kingdom of God seem to have a deep inner purpose and experience pleasure in carrying out that purpose. Have you been around people like that? What do you think of when you hear the word passion?

Live From Your Heart

Excerpts from this blog post of the same name written by Preston Gillham:

The Scriptures are clear, we Believers are given a new heart when we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, from irretrievable uselessness to God to being His sought after treasure. No longer do we have hearts that are rebellious and desperately wicked as Jeremiah preached to his generation. Rather, as Ezekiel prophesied would be the case when Christ came, the laws of God are now written on our hearts; they are no longer hardened to God but are soft and pliable (ref. Ezek. 36:26-27).

It is a crying shame that teachers teach and Believers believe that the heart of the child of God is a wicked beast torn between two loves: obedience and sin, God and the devil, darkness and light. This is a mishandling of Scripture, and I think sometimes it is deliberate in order to motivate folks toward outward godliness in lieu of true spiritual formation, which begins inside and works its way out. You would think we were forming Pharisees instead of people who follow Christ with all their heart...

It is for this reason that the Scriptures are emphatic, and that Ezekiel’s prophecy is important, regarding the condition of our hearts. Our hearts are new, not old; soft, not hard toward God; clean, not in the condition of the folk’s hearts whom Jeremiah preached to in real time versus prophetically.

This is important because we are designed to live from our hearts. The heart is the core of us, the deepest and most thoroughgoing aspect of us. It governs all that God desires to have come out of us. From the heart we passionately convey God to others during our daily trek through life.

When Jesus appealed to His disciples and presented the kingdom to them, He appealed to them at their basic ability to respond to God—their hearts. He does the same with us, and the devil—our adversary—recognizes this and wages an insidious battle to undermine our determination to live from our hearts. Thus the reason behind the heart-level wounds we have all suffered with this, it is all the more apparent why Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”

We attempt to live from our heads, from our theology, from our tradition, from our emotion, from our family history, from what we are taught, from our accomplishments, ad infinitum. But we must adopt God’s viewpoint of life and of our lives. He designed us to live passionately, intensely, confidently…and to do so from a heart that is clean and pure based upon the finished work of Christ (ref. Heb. 10:19-25). Be encouraged in your heart!